I can’t help but have that awesome 80’s song “Empire” by Queensryche go through my head every time I see the title of this game. Heavy metal riffs while demonic underlings slaughter their way through another batch of heroes, yeah it’s been done before, but what does Cyanide Montreal have up their sleeve when it comes to Impire? What helps this one stand out from all the other Dungeon Keeper style games?
John Pinette! Not the answer many would look for to the questions above but its the only answer I can give. They got a B list comedian to lend his voice to the main evil demon. Take a breath, think about that and then understand how horrible that is. John Pinette is not the kind of voice I would picture for a demon named Baal Abaddon but that is just me.
You play as an arch demon that has been called forth to the Kingdom of Ardania to help an evil wizard take over. There are a couple of tongue in cheek moments that might bring a chuckle, but over all the story is very generic. What Impire does do a little different than others is encourage the player to create squads of minions. Each squad is four minions, and together they will level up. Depending on the combination of units, they will earn skills as they level up that will help turn the tide of battle in their favor. Single units running around alone are not able to access these bonus skills.
This isn’t just a single player strategy game: you can play through the story mode cooperatively, there is a multiplayer skirmish mode, and you can battle with other players in a capture the flag mode or a king of the hill mode. Sadly, I wasn’t able to try this mode during the course of my review, as there were very few folks out there playing the game. I did, however, play the skirmish mode against the AI, and while it was fun, it’s just not the same as playing another human being.
Other than the voice acting there is a short list of other complaints for Impire. It’s not a “stay away!” list by any means. Just small minor annoyances that might get on a few people’s nerves. Like, mouths don’t move when characters are talking, the controls are a little strange for a Dungeon Keeper style RTS (instead of bringing the mouse to the edge of the screen to scroll in that direction smoothly you use W A S D), and some of the menu UI is a bit wonky as well, but it isn’t anything that is game breaking.
I was a little shocked at how fast Paradox released this game, but I am even more shocked at how many people don’t know about it. For 20USD (on Steam) the title is well worth the money if you want to give your hand to running a dungeon. I enjoyed my time with it and I do see myself going back to it. Dare I say that I’m enjoying Impire much more than I enjoyed Dungeonland (another recent Paradox release).